Pep Boys or no Pep Boys, Bridgestone aims to grow US retail presence

Masaaki Tsuya

Bridgestone may have had the 800 outlet Pep Boys retail network snapped from it hands by Icahn Enterprises, yet the tyre maker is holding onto its growth plans in the USA. Speaking with Japanese financial publication Nikkei, Bridgestone chief executive officer Masaaki Tsuya shared on plans for 20 per cent growth in the tyre maker’s US retail network by 2020. The additional retail centres are expected to be both company-owned shops and dealer partners.

Bridgestone Retail Operations currently operates 2,200 tyre and automotive service centres under the Firestone Complete Auto Care (which currently boasts more than 1,600 outlets), Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works brand banners, and Bridgestone’s tyre ranges are also sold through more than 5,000 dealers and distributors in the US. Yet despite this coverage, Tsuya opines that Bridgestone’s presence is currently “weak in some regions.”

Speaking about Pep Boys’ decision to take Icahn’s US$18.50 a share offer, Tsuya told Nikkei that it was “unfortunate” but added that Bridgestone will now use the cash it had set aside for new deals.

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